On this day, August 19, 2017, celebrated comedian, writer, and civil rights activist Dick Gregory died at the age of 84.
Gregory was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Lucille, a housemaid, and Presley Gregory. When he was nine years old, he was the victim of a racist attack for touching a white woman’s leg while shining her shoes
Gregory began his career as a stand-up comedian in the 1950s and immediately began pushing boundaries with his edgy observational humor. He was at the forefront of political activism in the 1960s, when he protested the Vietnam War and racial injustice. He was arrested multiple times and went on many hunger strikes. He later became a speaker and author, primarily promoting spirituality.